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Tapestry with scenes from the Passion of Christ, by an unknown weaver, Flemish (active 1470-1490 in Tournai), via Wikimedia Commons

Passiontide at Merton 2017

The 2017 Festival took place from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 April; the 2018 Festival will take place from 23 to 25 March 2018.
A three-day festival of concerts, talks and services, the annual Passiontide at Merton festival is a highlight of Oxford's musical year.

The first Passiontide at Merton festival took place in 2010. The festival has become a popular musical and liturgical event, attracting a large following, with many visitors staying in the College for the duration of the festival. The festival usually takes place over the Palm Sunday weekend.

Although the resident College Choir is the featured ensemble, visiting performers have included The Tallis Scholars, The Marian Consort, Oxford Baroque, Carducci Quartet, Emma Kirkby and Elin Manahan Thomas. A number of works have been premièred at the festival, including Gabriel Jackson’s The Passion of our Lord and Emily Levy’s In Paradisum.

Friday 7 April 2017

7:30pm - Seven Last Words from the Cross

The Choir of Merton College
Berkeley Sinfonia
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Pärt Silouan’s Song
Tallis Sancte Deus
Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis
MacMillan Seven Last Words from the Cross

10:00pm - Contemporary Reflections

Martlet Voices
Giles Underwood director

A programme of penitential choral music that featured Philip Moore’s Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer alongside choral works by Barber, Wolf and Stravinsky.


Saturday 8 April 2017

10.30am - Choral Matins

Merton College Girls' Choir
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

2:00pm - Miserere mei – Music of Lamentation

The Marian Consort
Rory McCleery conductor

Cardoso Lamentatio
Lobo Pater Peccavi
Morago Oculi Mei
Tallis Lamentations of Jeremiah I
Magalhaes Commissa mea pavesco
Morago Versa est in luctum
Fernandez Circumdederunt me delores mortis
Allegri Miserere mei, Deus

6:00pm - Choral Evensong

The Choir of Merton College, Oxford
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Purcell Hear my prayer
Howells Collegium Regale
Bruckner Christus factus est

7:30pm - Festival Dinner


9:30pm - A New Compline

This service brought together four world premières within the contemplative setting of compline.


Sunday 9 April 2017

10:30am - Procession and Sung Eucharist of the Lord’s Passion

The Choir of Merton College, Oxford
The Revd Canon Dr Simon Jones celebrant and preacher
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Palestrina Missa Papae Marcelli
Gibbons Hosanna to the Son of David
Lotti Crucifixus a 8

5:00pm - JS Bach: St Matthew Passion

The Choir of Merton College
Merton College Girls' Choir
Oxford Baroque
Benjamin Nicholas conductor

Rogers Covey-Crump Evangelist
Giles Underwood Christus
Elin Manahan Thomas soprano
Helen Charlston alto
James Way tenor
Henry Neill bass

This concert was sponsored by The Morris-Venables Charitable Foundation.

Image: Tapestry with scenes from the Passion of Christ, by an unknown weaver, Flemish (active 1470-1490 in Tournai), via Wikimedia Commons